Alliances for Africa (AfA), with funding from the United Nations Trust Fund (UNTF), is currently conducting a community-wide sensitisation campaign with various women’s groups across the state.
To consolidate and localise the provisions of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law and push for its implementation to end all forms of violence against women and girls in Imo state, it became essential to improve communities’ knowledge and strengthen local women’s constitutions and bye-laws. This was done by taking advantage of the traditionally held August women’s meetings.
So far, more than 18 communities and over 1000 plus women have been educated, sensitised, and armed with copies of the Imo State VAPP Law, in addition to providing financial empowerment to communities for infrastructural projects and development. These strategic actions will promote better protection for women and girls in Imo State and contribute to the end of violence against women and girls.
These engagements have also revealed gaps in the Constitution and Bye-Laws of the various traditional women’s groups in these communities that do not adequately address or offer protection to women and girls. Women’s groups must revise their Constitutions and Bye-Laws to include traditional rulers and youth groups in the adoption and enforcement process in order to ensure justice for women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence. We believe that if these partnerships are established and maintained, there will be mechanisms and enforcement steps in place to ensure women and girls can live free of all forms of gender-based violence.
We, therefore, implore communities to:
- Work on their Constitution and Bye-Laws to address spousal battery, forcible eviction, domestic violence, harmful widowhood practices, rape, abandonment, disinheritance, forcible eviction, female genital mutilation, and other harmful traditional practices.
- Ensure that elements of its constitution are adapted to meet women’s issues, as failure to do so undermines its mission and fails to safeguard those it serves.
Furthermore, we urge parents to break the taboo by discussing and reminding their children of the consequences of early sexual activity. By discussing sex education with their children at an early age and in understanding the consequences of early sexual activity, it will prevent unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and Aids; whilst keeping children safe from predators.
Women should also investigate their communities for discriminatory practices that weaken and disenfranchise women, and promote causes that will lead to their abolition or reform. In this approach, the long-term aim of eradicating violence against women and girls can be attained.
About AfA: AfA is a feminist African non-governmental human rights, peace, and sustainable development organization. AfA works with partners in and around the continent of Africa to advocate for the protection of human rights; promotion of women’s participation in leadership and governance; improve institutional capacity, advocate for gender justice, equality and non-discrimination.